China has released a bunch of new videos (with sound!) and images of its Zhurong rover's early adventures on Mars so that we can share every experience and step in its historic exploration.
Among the releases is the first audio from Zhurong as it rolled off the lander platform and took its first steps on Mars. A video of the rover having a trundle about Mars and trying out some reversing and turning maneuvers has also been released as well as some incredible new 3D stereo images of the rover parachuting down to the Red Planet's surface, which it did on May 15 this year.
First up is the audio of Zhurong's venturing off the lander to actually touch wheels on Mars. It may sound like Mars is populated by slightly juddering roaring monsters, but what you're hearing is the sounds of the mechanisms of the wheels turning as they exit the ramp, with the planet's thin atmosphere skewering the sounds. But, Mars audio is a relatively new and rare thing, so we can't be picky yet. As Haygan Warren points out below, Perseverance's mics didn't manage to pick up its landing, though it did later release some eerie sounds.
This video shows the rover driving off the lander... WITH SOUND!— Haygen Warren (@haygenwarren) June 27, 2021
Although it's not the highest of quality, it's still awesome (Percy's microphones didn't work during landing - just saying)! pic.twitter.com/OyxioaC5ie
"In fact the sounds were made when the pinion of the Mars rover rotates on the rack, or say the clashing sounds between metals," explained Jia Yang, Tianwen-1 system deputy chief designer, according to Chinese news site CCTV. "The purpose we [installed] the recording device is to capture the sounds of wind on Mars during its windy weathers. We really want to hear how the winds sound like on a planet other than the Earth."
There is also some lovely footage of the six-wheeled rover driving about, including reversing to stand next to the landing platform to take a group selfie after dropping off the tiny camera it took it with about 10 meters away, and some snazzy turning in place, showing off its maneuverability.
The Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) also released some amazing 3D stereo footage of the supersonic parachute deployment, speeding towards the surface of Mars, and landing.
If you want to see them all together, CNSA Watcher put them all together in this handy video.
And finally, to cap it all off, CNSA also released a stunning new interactive panorama of everything Zhurong can see, stitched together from images taken by cameras on the rover. You can watch the video below but we highly recommend you have a play manually here for maximum wow.